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  • Writer's pictureMarc D. Richter, LICSW, LADC

ADHD'ers And Masking: Do You Wear A Mask?

Masking ADHD is when someone with ADHD hides or overcompensates for their symptoms to appear more normal or fit in. Masking can happen in many different ways, including at home, work, or socially:

  • Inattentive-type ADHDMasking can include responding as expected during class discussions, even if your mind feels chaotic. You might also over-focus on a task or activity to avoid distractions.

  • Hyperactive-type ADHDMasking can include hiding hyperactivity with calmness, or sitting quietly at a desk without squirming. You might also suppress stimming behaviors like bouncing your legs or chewing on the end of your pen.

  • Other examplesMasking can also include suppressing intense emotions, hiding excess energy, or putting a lot of effort into timekeeping. You might also cancel events to avoid comments about being late. 

Masking can have some positive effects, such as helping you develop strategies for living with ADHD or prioritizing your social image. However, it can also have serious downsides, such as becoming exhausting and negatively affecting you. For example, if you mask too tightly and don't let anyone see the unfiltered version of yourself, it can create a vicious circle where others feel the need to mask more tightly as well. 

Unmasking can help you allow your friends and family to understand your ADHD challenges, support you better, and make it easier for you to seek support and encouragement. It also allows for the opportunity to stop hiding the ADHD. This is SO VERY important because not hiding ones' ADHD takes the shame out of the equation. Secrets are often laced with lots of shame. Everyone has differences that set them apart from others. Why hide them when you can be celebrating what makes you unique!*

Parts of this article may be credited to Google AI but I thought it was still very useful!

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